MA lawmakers hold first hearing on how to spend $2.9B in federal aid

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – A hearing on how to spend more than $2 billion from the American Rescue Plan took place on Beacon Hill on Thursday.

The hearing was long overdue because for months, the governor and the legislature have gone back and forth over 2.9 billion dollars from the federal government. With western Massachusetts lawmakers chairing the hearing, a good portion of that funding could be headed west on the Pike.

The Ways and Means Committee kicked things off around 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. To start, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealey highlighted five key areas that need investments ASAP. They are housing production, downtown development, workforce training, tourism, and broadband access.

The governor has been putting pressure on the legislature to get some of the ARPA funds out the door, so they can be used to protect the Commonwealth from severe storms. The legislature has been carefully considering the governor’s request and they will continue to hold public hearing’s on the funding to make sure it’s distributed equitably.

Now, there is no timeline at this point on when the money will be spent. However, Thursday’s hearing was a step in the right direction.

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